How We Make an Income While Homesteading
One of the reasons we started our homestead was quality of life. My wife and I were both working while trying to raise 3 young children. As our first born hit high school we felt that our family was growing apart faster than we liked. We always dabbled in gardening and such but we decided to make a change.
As a family, we thought that the state of our country seemed to put morals and family to the side. Our jobs wanted us to work more and that led to less time doing things as a family. As we pulled back from the new normal, most of our friends kept on that path.
The big change was when we decided to home school our children. You would have thought that we were committing a mortal sin. This is where our friends really pulled away and our family was working against us. It was a sad time realizing our family was against what we were trying to accomplish.
It was about this time that everything came together; I was laid off of my job. I remember thanking my boss for laying me off and the look he gave me. He was really surprised I was so happy about it. When I came home my wife and I agreed this was the opportunity we were waiting for.
I always did work on the side that was “homestead-ish”. Making and selling soap, selling plants, helping build houses, cleaning out stalls, helping at deer farms and all this before lunch. I knew I could find enough work and sell enough of my crafts to make ends meet.
I was able to stay home to work and my wife handled the home school while working as a nurse. As the years have gone by, we’ve gotten better at making a living, and I’ll share what I do to help bring income to our homestead.
First off I have to say no one thing I do brings in all the money. Seasons change, people change and I just do enough of everything so the money balances out.
Soap making brings in sporadic sales, but is fun and fairly easy to make. We always make a profit with our cold press soap. If you want to make soap, try and find local sources for your oils and lye. We were buying lye at hardware stores which gets harder and harder because it’s also used in illegal activities.
The cost was high and really cut into our profit. I was lucky enough to find an Amish family that sells lye. We can buy it for pennies on the dollar now, which has increased our profitability. We get our oils at another Amish, again for pennies on the dollar.
One bar of our CP soap (cold process) costs $0.50 a bar unwrapped. We sell this bar for $3.00 each and even though we don’t sell this often, we sell it in large batches. If we wanted to sell more soap we could do craft shows, but I just don’t have that time. Word of mouth does our selling and our repeat customers make it possible.
Bath Bombs are little balls that fizz when dropped in water. You can use them for your bath or most people like soaking feet and hands with our bath bombs. They moisturize your body, can detox you, and rejuvenate tired bodies.
So this is a really good seller if you can come up with a good recipe. It took us about a year to get our recipe right, but when we did, our customers loved it. Again, finding the best ingredients at the best price is key to making a profit.
Holidays are the best time of year to sell bath bombs. We get fun molds for each season and your customers won’t mind paying a little extra. We sell 2 sizes: a small 2 oz. for $1.00 each and a 5 oz. for $5.00.
The larger one costs more because my daughters really bling them out. Most people won’t mind paying $1.00 to give one a shot but they always come back for more! This one is a no-brainer, and if you do craft shows you can really make some money on it.
Writing is my bread and butter. I love writing and I love writing about homesteading. If you think you have the ability, try writing for some blogs or make an e-book. I have made a few e-books to sell on Amazon or Smashwords, and even though you won’t strike it rich, it will make you a few hundred dollars a year.
The key to e-books is “quantity.” One e-book may make you a couple hundred dollars; 20 e-books should make you a couple thousand a year.
I’m not beneath cleaning stalls: if I’m lucky, I can take the manure with me! This is one of those learning lessons I don’t want my children to lose out on so I take them along. I get to make connections with the type of people that understand homestead values and we get to network a bit. I have received many gifts of meat and livestock from people that I meet cleaning stalls.
Meat birds raised organically can make the homestead a good income. We sell our meat birds for $20.00 each butchered. No scales here; just pick what you like! Some people might be offended at that price, but those people offend me. I produce small batches of meat birds that have a great life. They aren’t exposed to any chemicals, GMO feed, or bad treatment.
When the day comes for butchering, they die happy and unstressed. I don’t dip them in bleach like the store bought birds, and I dry the bird before packing. You won’t be paying for extra fat or innards like they pack in the supermarket version. The best part is that my birds will be fresh, under 30 days old (usually 1-3 days old). So yes, there are people that understand this, and I never have a problem selling my chicken.
Some other things I do at times are buy and sell antiques and tools. These are all things I can do while with my family, and every dollar counts. I’m not rich, but I feel rich because we are living a moral life; I love that my 20 year old still calls me daddy, my wife and I are still happily married, all my 3 children are straight “A” students. Two of them are getting these grades while in college!
Do we feel the pinch at times? Sure we do, but we always pay our bills and life is good!